While 22 teams have entered the bubble at Disneyworld in Orlando Florida, the eight teams who were not invited inside the bubble have not practiced together or played organized basketball for over four months. And that separation from competitive play and team growth will likely continue throughout the remainder of the summer and potentially into the late fall until the beginning of the 2020-2021 season. For a young team like the Detroit Pistons, and practically every other team not invited to the bubble, this scenario has the potential to be disastrous towards the development of each team’s prospects. While franchises such as Golden State or New York may not dread the layoff, as they have a sizable amount of veterans on their roster, a team like Detroit is on the opposite side of the spectrum.
However, the league has sparingly spoken about creating a second bubble in which the eight teams not in Orlando would convene in. Jackie MacMullan of ESPN wrote at the beginning of July about these exact talks, stating that the league was in “deep discussions” to create a second bubble.
From MacMullan’s report: The NBA is in deep discussions on a second “bubble” in Chicago for the eight teams that were not invited to play in Florida, enabling them to participate in a mini-training camp and subsequent games against other clubs with a target date of September, sources told ESPN on Thursday.
While not practicing as a team from early March to September would be less than ideal for these eight teams, the opportunity to reconvene in September rather than December is an acceptable outcome.
Although the second bubble would begin over a month before the NBA Draft, meaning no franchise would have their rookie(s) for the upcoming season on their roster, there are plenty of young prospects that would benefit from getting a head start on team practices, training camp, and scrimmage games, while the remaining teams in the Orlando bubble compete for an NBA title.
Veteran players such as Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose in Detroit’s case, or pending free agents like Christian Wood would likely not perform in this second bubble, at least not fully you would think. But beyond those names lies a roster of youth that is in sore need of development. Sekou Doumbouya, the youngest player in the league, is the obvious name that comes to mind when you think of the young guns who would significantly benefit from a second bubble. But there are plenty of other players on the Pistons’ roster that would stand to gain from it.
How about Luke Kennard who hasn’t played since December? He was set to return to the court in March, but the NBA shutdown prohibited the highly anticipated return from happening. Kennard will be entering a contract season, and was playing the best basketball of his career before going down with bilateral knee tendonitis. Dwane Casey would probably like to have Luke Kennard share the floor with Doumbouya, which is something that hasn’t happened before, as well as the rest of Detroit’s rebuild roster moving forward.
Svi Mykhailiuk is another name that would likely see a big role within the bubble. The second-year wing burst onto the scene after Kennard went down and solidified himself as a weapon on the offensive side of the floor. There could be a nice dose of friendly competition between Kennard and Mykhailiuk as some feel that the Pistons could move Kennard in favor of an asset and slide Mykhailiuk into his role long term.
With Derrick Rose likely out of the equation, Bruce Brown could have another opportunity to develop as a point guard. Jordan Bone and Khyri Thomas are two other guards that belong in the bubble.
It would be an opportunity for Detroit to get a look at Justin Patton, who the team recently signed to a contract, while the majority of the Pistons’ big men were away from the team or sitting out of games that would be played.
As the bubble would be somewhat comparable to a Summer League, the league could perhaps allow each team to sign a select number of current free agents to fill out their roster. Ideally, these contracts would last for the bubble only, but it would allow teams to give an opportunity to young prospects who have been down in the G League or overseas to showcase their talents against NBA competition.
Unfortunately, in the world that we currently live in, this isn’t a perfect scenario. There won’t be an ideal scenario for what looks to be quite some time. But if the Orlando bubble is successful and players are able to stay healthy, then a second bubble would be a useful idea.